Why Collaborative Law is for All Income Levels

A collaborative process can be the most cost effective and best process choice for everyone.  

In an effort to be cost-effective, many people shy away from any formal process.  I am often asked to do one of the following: just sign an ILA certificate, tweak an internet precedent separation agreement, and negotiate without a process.    While I’m happy to do this, what I often find is that these other methods end up escalating conflict and racking up fees.  This is because often what was written was not what was intended, there has not be adequate disclosure for me to safely sign a certificate of independent legal advice, or the other spouse’s lawyers has raised new concerns not initially addressed.  Before you know it, you are incurring mounting fees and conflict because of misunderstandings and a perception of reneging on a done deal.  In short, it’s often messier and more expensive.

In the collaborative process we gather all financial information at the beginning so we have everything we need to generate and assess settlement options.  Some straightforward files can settle in one or two meetings.  Even if the parties are at odds, or the issues complex, collaborative is proven to be quicker in bringing clients to resolution.   In CP we meet directly to canvas both spouses’ goals and interests, share financial and legal information and brainstorm settlement options customized to the couple.   This avoids wasteful letters between lawyers and minimizes misunderstanding and delay.  The separation agreement is then drafted by the lawyers together rather than versions going back and forth. Not only is collaborative efficient, it is humane, respectful and preserves important relationships. Couples leave the process knowing they have a sound agreement that both believe is fair.

 

Here some tips for keeping your legal fees down:

I encourage all families, no matter your financial worth, to consider collaborative for a wise, cost-effective route to settlement.